July 5, 2012 | By Basil Linx |
“It takes a village to raise a child” a proverb which is as relevant today as it has ever been & the essence of which I would like to focus on for a few moments. When we reflect on the people that have had influence on us from childhood often we can struggle to remember them all as we are subject from an early age to so many influences both conscious & subconscious. A neighbour leaving home every morning to go to work, your school teacher or even what you hear & see on your favourite sitcom all play a part in making you who you are today.
When you are about your business & see people within our community particularly young people behaving badly how do you respond & do you actually accept that you have a responsibility within our community to be part of the village. The majority of us want to be part of a community that we can be proud of however this will not happen by osmosis so where do we start.
The crisis of children who do not have a strong relationship with their fathers is at epidemic levels in our community & like most of us I too know individuals that refuse to take responsibility for their children. In fact some wear it as a badge of honor & are prepared to say with pride how many children they have fathered but run out of words when it comes to explaining what they are actually doing to ensure that their children have an effective role model & sufficient support both emotionally & financially. Then there is the question that has eluded many & could demand a whole column on its own. How can we explain the thinking of the women who are fully aware that the man they have decided to procreate with has a track record of being an irresponsible & unreliable father yet they still select him to be their “baby father” & allow their children to suffer as a result. The products of these relationships in due course end up searching for surrogate families in the gangs that are now common place on our streets & estates. Not to mention the stigma that is attached to them as children of single parent families in school & other formal environments.
I have committed myself to challenging (from a perspective of love) all of the sisters & brothers that I meet who are in that place & I would like to invite you to do the same. We are collectively responsible for the children of our community & can all play a part in ensuring that the divide between what they need & what they have is minimized. Starting from the children that are in your circle of family, friends & neighbours, take the time to mentor at least one or two, try to identify the ones that need it most & engage with their parents too. We are all leaders, we are all role models & we can’t continue to expect schools, government or anyone else from outside of our community to take ownership of the issues that we have with our children.
If you happen to be in a situation where you recognize that it seems too difficult for you to manage the struggle of raising your child single-handedly then I plead with you to challenge the members of your “village” to do the right thing. There will be no winners if we fail to take up the challenge & we could end up actually living in fear of our own children because we have failed to invest in them, so in the name of our future .…..
Do the right thing!!